Nordic Freelance conference: solidarity to support freelance journalists under attack in Belarus

The Nordic Freelance Conference 2018 took place this year in Malmö, Sweden. The Frilans Riks, the freelance section within the Swedish Union of Journalist (SJF), organised a two day conference focusing on threats against freelance journalists in particular from right wing extremists, rise in self-censorship, dialogue with the police, media situation in Belarus, as well as the power structure of the big tech companies (“GAFA”). EFJ Director Renate Schroeder outlined the work of EFJ and its Freelance Expert Group (FREG) with a special focus on its advocacy work in Brussels for improving freelance rights and monitoring increasing threats against (freelance)…

EFJ condemns Italian government threat to cut indirect state funding to newspapers

Italian government threatens to cut indirect state funding to the press, accusing newspapers of “polluting the debate”. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) join their affiliate the Federazione Nazionale Stampa Italiana (FNSI) in strongly condemning these threats and expressing serious concerns over the press situation in Italy. The government’s announcement was made on 12 September and throughout last week by Luigi Di Maio, head of the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) and key figure in Italy’s government. On his Facebook account, the deputy prime minister threatened the press in a post saying that…

Russian journalist Alexander Sokolov released from detention

Journalist Alexander Sokolov, an investigative reporter who was detained since July 2015 and sentenced to three and half years of jail in August 2017, has been released on August 28, 2018. Sokolov announced the release on his social media, saying, that he would not call it a release, because he will still be under restrictions of freedom by judicial authorities. Sokolov was released after a number of appeals under an updated law redefining how time spent in pre-trial detention is deducted from jail terms. The charges against journalist, filed in 2015, were based on his involvement in a group called For a Responsible…

Council of Europe: blocking online content is serious interference with freedom of expression

Blocking of online content and social media, throttling of internet traffic and shutdowns of entire websites constitute the most serious interference with online expression, preventing information from reaching its intended audience, states the fifth annual report by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland. The report analyses the state of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Europe, based on the findings of the Council of Europe monitoring mechanisms and bodies. Among the main findings, the focus was drawn to the freedom of expression, especially concerning the troubling tendencies of intimidation and threats against journalists around Europe –…

Macedonia: Election Commission authorised to fine media for ‘Unbalanced Reporting’

Several amendments to the Electoral Code were passed  by the Macedonian Parliament on 25 July 2018 in a fast-track procedure, as a result of a political agreement between the leaders of the four main political parties. An amendment to the Electoral Code empowers the State Election Commission to register and monitor online media reporting on the elections. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) supports its Macedonian affiliates, the Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM-ZNM), the Independent Union of Journalists and Media Workers (SSNM), joined by the Council of Media Ethics of Macedonia, in criticising the new Electoral Code, as the…

Cyprus: Journalist Costas Constantinou receives death threats

Cypriot journalist Costas Constantinou has filed a complaint to Chief of Police after receiving death threats on social media. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) supports its affiliate the Union of Cyprus Journalists in condemning this act of intimidation against journalists and media freedom in Cyprus. The threat to journalist’s life was posted in a comment section of a Facebook group “Dimokratiki Paremvasi” (eng. Democratic intervention) under shared post of Constantinou which he made on 20th of July, commemorating day of Turkish Invasion in Cyprus. The post was along the same lines as discussion on Politis radio show, where Constantinou shared critical views concerning…

The EFJ asks the Council of Europe to declare Pavel Sheremet’s murder a case of impunity

Ukrainian journalist Pavel Sheremet was murdered on 20 July 2016. On the second anniversary of his death, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) believes that the investigation into his assassination failed to look properly into who committed and commissioned the crime. “Two years after his assassination, we should consider the journalist’s murder as an impunity case. That is why the European Federation of Journalists asked the Council of Europe platform for the protection of journalism to change the status of the alert on Pavel Sheremet’s killing to the category of “impunity”. Ukraine will become one of the worst European States…

Meeting of the CoE Steering Committee on Media and Information Society (CDMSI)

The EFJ GS Ricardo Gutiérrez will attend next meeting of the CDMSI (the EFJ is an observer member of the CDMSI). The CDMSI will consider the Draft Strategy for the Implementation of the CM Recommendation on protection of journalism and safety of journalists and other media actors, prepared by the secretariat. Discuss and approve it. Consider and comment on the Draft Implementation Guide to Recommendation CM/Rec(2016)4, prepared by the Secretariat Valuable practices in the area of safety of journalists will be presented, including: the Action plan on Defending Free Speech, by the CDMSI representative of Sweden, and the Audit of Freedom…

IFJ and EFJ condemn threats against journalists in Ukraine

The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ) condemned today the increasing verbal and online violence against journalists in Ukraine. On 30 May 2018, Larissa Sargan, spokeswoman of the General Prosecutor of Ukraine, posted on her Facebook profile a list of 26 so-called “traitors” who criticized the law enforcement authorities after the so-called “murder” in Kyiv of Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko. The “murder” was in fact an operation in which Ukrainian security services (SBU) faked Babchenkos’s assassination. Two journalists appear in Larissa Sargan’s list of so-called traitors: Myroslava Gongadze and Sergiy Tomilenko, who is the President of the National Union…

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